Toronto Star

Would you like a car with that condo?

- Peter Gorrie

A Toronto developer is offering a free electric car to certain condo buyers while another, out in Victoria, tried to do something similar. However, these incentives might be complicati­ng big real estate and lifestyle decisions. First, the offers: In Toronto, the Minto Group will give a Nissan Leaf to the first 20 buyers at its Bside project who opt for a parking spot equipped with an electric vehicle (EV) charging station; the parking space will cost up to $50,000.

Cars will be delivered within 60 days of the condo’s closing date, which Minto estimates will be sometime in 2019.

The current offer is based on the current 2015 Leaf, worth $31,998. If the price rises by the time the condo closes, the developer will cover up to $40,000 of the vehicle’s purchase price.

Minto says it will add chargers if demand warrants, and install a transforme­r to handle the electricit­y load.

Meanwhile in Victoria, Large & Co. offered a Leaf or a Smart to those who bought into its 10-unit project near the inner harbour.

So why aren’t these offers unabashedl­y great news?

No one accepted the Victoria deal, so it’s been cancelled. But, then, it wasn’t exactly free: Those who didn’t take the car paid about $25,000 less for their unit.

Minto’s offer, on the other hand, might be perfect for some condo buyers. As the company says: “If you are going to have a car, an EV makes a lot of sense if you’re living downtown and don’t have to travel long distances in your day-to-day life.”

If you want just one car, you’ll choose one that handles long trips, which means internal combustion, so ignore the LEAF offer

As Minto points out, charging stations often sit forlorn and unwanted, simply because few condo residents own an EV. Its offer might get more electric cars on the road.

And the EV focus should reduce disputes among condo residents over who pays for charging stations — and the electricit­y consumed.

But the company notes that Bside, which is at Front and Bathurst Sts., is beside great transit connection­s and within walking or cycling distance of most downtown destinatio­ns.

The current Leaf can travel up to 135 kms between charges; considerab­ly less in cold weather. So, some considerat­ions: If you don’t need the LEAF for local trips, and since it can’t cope with long journeys, you’re left using it for runs to the suburbs, which might make sense if, for example, you commute within its range.

If you want just one car, you’ll probably choose one that handles long trips, which means, for now, internal combustion. So, ignore the LEAF offer.

If you think a LEAF would serve you well, but you also want a vehicle for longer trips, you’d need to buy a second Bside parking spot, if it’s available.

If you rent a gasoline burner for long drives, the LEAF could be fine.

If you’re confident the Leaf’s range will expand significan­tly by the time you’re handed the keys to a 2019 model, then previous considerat­ions fly out the window.

Another option: A Boston developer is providing charging stations and three EVs for a 10-unit condo associatio­n to manage in the form of an in-house car-sharing arrangemen­t, which should maximize use of the equipment.

That’s not a bad idea. But if you’re an EV commuter living in that condo, you can’t take a shared car all day, every day. You’d need your own.

If Toronto’s crane-spotted skyline is any indication, more of us will live in these buildings. Brace for even more condo conundrums. Freelance writer Peter Gorrie is a regular contributo­r to Toronto Star Wheels. To reach him, email and put his name in the subject line.

 ?? NISSAN ?? A new model of the Leaf, with a range of up to 300 kms, is expected to be out by the time cars are given to buyers at a Toronto condo developmen­t.
NISSAN A new model of the Leaf, with a range of up to 300 kms, is expected to be out by the time cars are given to buyers at a Toronto condo developmen­t.
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